A female legal assistant interviewing a client in an office after her legal assistant training

4 Best Practices For Client Interviews After Legal Assistant Training

Client interviews are a fundamental part of legal assistant training and legal practice. As a legal assistant, your role in these interviews can significantly impact the case’s outcome and the client’s experience. Compelling client interviews requires technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, and meticulous preparation.

Here are four best practices to ensure you conduct successful client interviews after completing your legal assistant training.

1. Thorough Preparation Is Essential After Legal Assistant Training

It’s not an exaggeration to say that thorough preparation can often be the difference between a successful and failed client interview. Before the interview, gather all necessary information about the case and the client.

Leveraging your legal assistant training, review the case files, previous correspondence, and any relevant documents. Familiarize yourself with the client’s background and the legal issues at hand.

Tips for Preparation:

  • Create a checklist: Ensure you have all required documents and information ready.
  • Prepare questions: Draft questions that will help gather detailed information from the client.
  • Understand the case: Clearly understand the case’s facts, legal issues, and desired outcomes.
A focused male legal assistant researching a case after completing his legal assistant training
As you learned during your legal assistant training, adequate preparation is essential.

2. Create a Comfortable Environment

Creating a comfortable and trusting environment is crucial for compelling client interviews. Clients need to feel comfortable sharing sensitive information, which often requires a welcoming and professional setting.

Tips for Establishing Comfort:

  • Choose the right location: Ensure the interview takes place in a quiet, private space where the client feels secure.
  • Be punctual and organized. Arriving on time and being organized demonstrate respect for the client’s time and build trust.
  • Build rapport: Start with some small talk to ease into the conversation. Show empathy and understanding to help the client feel comfortable.

3. Practice Active Listening

Active listening is an essential skill for legal assistants. It involves hearing the client’s words and understanding the underlying emotions and concerns. This practice helps gather comprehensive information and build a strong client relationship.

Tips for Active Listening:

  • Maintain eye contact: This shows that you are engaged and interested in what the client is saying.
  • Nod and use verbal affirmations: Simple gestures like nodding and saying “I understand” encourage the client to continue sharing.
  • Avoid interruptions: Let the client speak without interruptions to ensure you capture all details.
  • Ask clarifying questions: If something is unclear, ask follow-up questions to get a better understanding.
A friendly legal assistant welcoming a male client after completing his legal assistant training
Legal assistant courses emphasize the importance of creating a comfortable environment.

4. Detailed Note-Taking

Accurate and detailed note-taking during client interviews is crucial. These notes form the basis for further actions and decisions in the case. Ensure your notes are comprehensive, organized, and easily understandable.

Tips for Effective Note-Taking:

  • Use a structured format: Develop a consistent format for your notes to make them easy to review.
  • Highlight key points: Use bullet points, underlining, or different colours to emphasize important information.
  • Record emotions and behaviours: Note any significant emotional responses or body language cues that may be relevant to the case.
  • Review and organize notes promptly: After the interview, review your notes to ensure they are complete and organized for easy reference.

Get World-Class Legal Assistant Training at SBC College

Are you interested in a legal assistant career? Saskatoon Business College (SBC) offers an exceptional Legal Assistant Diploma Program that can open doors to numerous opportunities.

Mrs. Adelle Anderson, SBC barrister and solicitor at Benesh Bitz and Company, is shining proof of the effectiveness of our program. She said, “I had no exposure to lawyers or law firms but thought I might be interested in law. SBC trained me in the procedures of law, enabling me to work as an assistant for many years before going to law school to become a lawyer.”

Reflecting on her experiences, Mrs Anderson says “Being a legal assistant first has given me a greater understanding in the office, and I am able to provide better service to the client. I continue to use the skills gained when I was there. Thank you.”

Do you want to explore our legal assistant course?

Contact SBC for more information.